Over the holiday, we ate more unhealthy restaurant food than I care to admit, so when we got home, I was ready for a little good home-cooking. Since I didn’t have the energy to make anything fancy, I thought I’d keep it simple and unblogworthy. I had some organic collard greens that I’d bought before we left town and 3/4 of a butternut squash; I figured I’d cook them and heat up some beans and we’d have a healthy dinner, but nothing to write here about.
I tossed the cubes of butternut squash with a teaspoon of zest and a tablespoon of juice from one of my dad’s lemons, sprinkled it with freshly ground pepper, and put it in the oven at 400F to bake. While it was roasting, I heated the beans and started chopping the collards. Since I had a little time, I took a couple of shots of the collards, both raw and cooked, then put them back into the pot to keep warm.
Once the squash was tender, we ate . . . and we marveled. My husband said that it was one of the best meals he’s had. (I didn’t really think about that comment at the time, but I’m choosing now to take it as a compliment.) Daughter E. loved the squash and designated it kid-friendly, even though I told her it wouldn’t be on the blog. And, biggest surprise of all, little Miss Greens-Hater ate all of her collards without complaint!
So, I was happy I had photographed the greens, at least. This is easily the best-tasting and fastest collards recipe I’ve ever made. Southern cooks have been known to simmer collard greens for hours, but these took less than 7 minutes in my pressure cooker. The nearly-caramelized onions and garlic infuse them with flavor, and cut into thin strands like this, they’re kind of fun to eat. I’m suddenly feeling very happy that I planted collard greens in my garden again this fall!
Quick and Delicious Collards
Using the pressure cooker makes collards tender without cooking for hours.
- 1-2 bunches collard greens (as much as your pressure cooker will hold)
- 1 large onion , peeled and cut into thin rings
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2-3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 generous pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 cup water
- 1 sprinkle smoked salt (optional)
- Cut off the stems of the collard greens, removing any part of the central stem that seems tough. Stack 2 or 3 leaves on top of each other, roll them up so that they form a long tube, and cut them into thin strands:
- Repeat with all the collards.
Heat the pressure cooker (use the Sauté button on the Instant Pot). Add the onions and 2 tablespoons water and cook, stirring, until the water evaporates. Keep cooking and stirring until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute.
Stir in the collard greens, add the 1 cup of water, and seal the cooker. Bring to high pressure (use the Manual button on the Instant Pot) and cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. (If you are using small, baby collards, cook at high pressure for only 1 minute.) Remove from heat and use a quick-release method to reduce the pressure. Check the collards for tenderness; if they’re still tough, put them back on the heat, but don’t seal the cooker. Cook until tender. Salt, if desired, with smoked salt and serve (using a slotted spoon) with additional red pepper flakes.